Monday, 7 October 2013

NFL 2013 Week 5: Chargers 17, Raiders 27

So the Oakland Raiders, a team that for years was owned and run by a shyster, a man who obtained his team by defrauding his business partners, and then devolved into a barmy old hag, who died and left in charge his no-account shiftless son, who continues the proud tradition of holding training camp in a minimall parking lot, as well as the tradition of wearing black, scary black, like their fans' hearts, beat the Chargers 27-17 tonight.  A game played late at night instead of the scheduled 1300 hr PDST due to the time needed to change over their stadium from a baseball configuration to football. 

That delay probably explains the poor showing by the Chargers, their timing was off.  The opening kickoff occurred when they usually rest their weary heads on a pillow on Sundays.  

Faced with a misleading 2-2 record, this scribe was being mollified from his pre-season prediction of a 3-13 season from our Bolt-ed ones.   But a loss to this black-clad debacle of a team, one which is in the running with Jacksonville as the worst team in the league, one that is composed of castoffs and rejects and draft busts and get this, a tiny RB converted into a DB, well that snaps us back to reality.

It was a tale of two halves, with the Raiders gashing the Chargers D for big gains early in the game, both running and passing.  Terrelle Pryor looked like the second coming of Randall Cunningham, throwing effectively and juking and deking out of tackles for long runs after being seemingly trapped by an impotent Charger pass rush.  They jumped to a 17-0 lead at the half, and extended it to 24-3 by the third quarter.  

The Chargers coaching staff made some adjustments at halftime though, and the tide turned.  Instead of having a lone Charger rusher making penetration and then whiffing on a sack, they hung back and contained rather than chased Mr. Pryor.  The defensive backs stopped trying to jump routes and kept the Raider receivers in front of them, deployed now in a conservative cover scheme that dared the Raider quarterback to beat them with accuracy.

Ultimately though, as much as the coaching staff can come up with using smoke and mirrors, the Chargers are a team with little talent and no depth.  The young wide receivers are game, but they're a steep dropoff from the Vincent Jackson-Malcom Floyd duo.  Once Ryan Mathews was lost due to a concussion, the Chargers were forced to run little Danny Woodhead between the tackles, jeopardizing his life.  Ronnie Brown may be a multi-tool and reliable, but he has no wheels, and can't generate yardage.  We had an undrafted free agent left tackle (Nick Becton) subbing in for another undrafted free agent left tackle (Mike Harris), who was knocked out of the game due to injury.  Our secondary was populated by Eric Weddle and a bunch of guys who'd be hard-pressed to make it on any other team's roster.

So a comeback that looked promising for a while as the Raider predictably imploded, and Philip Rivers winged the ball all over the field, ultimately fell short.  Philip was intercepted three times, twice late while trying to close the gap in desperation time.  But his miscues weren't glaring, when taken in context with blocked field goal attempts and delay of game penalties immediately after a timeout and muffed punts and other routine examples of Chargerness.  They were in keeping with recent Chargers history, some insults to add to injury, to better kick the fans when they're down.  So down.

So the worst team in the league, minus Darren McFadden, beat the Chargers.  Handily.  That's not foreshadowing, that's the actual catastrophe happening.

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